Biden expected to nominate Wall Street critic as top banking regulator


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People familiar with the matter say Cornell law professor Soule Omarova will be named comptroller of the currency.

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WASHINGTON — President Biden plans to nominate a law professor who has criticized Wall Street banks for overseeing some of the biggest US lenders, according to people familiar with the matter.

Biden hopes to tap Cornell University law professor Soule Omarova to become the currency’s controller, which oversees national banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America. A formal announcement could be made later this week, the people said.


A White House spokeswoman declined to comment. Omarova did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The OCC is an independent bureau of the Treasury Department. It oversees about 1,200 banks with net assets of about $14 trillion, which is about two-thirds of the total assets in the US banking system, making it one of the most powerful regulators along with the Fed and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. makes.

On Twitter, Omarova criticized large bank share buybacks and temporary restrictions on dividends at the end of this summer, when banks performed well in annual stress tests.

In a separate tweet, he criticized a news report on the acquisition by JP Morgan. “Does the world need JP Morgan to become bigger or more powerful? Just wondering,” she wrote.

In academic writing, Omarova called for the transfer of consumer banking deposits from private firms to the Federal Reserve and called for “effectively ending banking as we know it.”

The same 2020 paper supported moves to “radically redefine the role of the central bank as the ultimate public platform for generating, modifying and allocating financial resources in a democratic economy – the People’s Ledger.” “

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The pick is expected to be appeased by progressive Democrats who support his criticism of banking and is likely to meet opposition from Republicans and industry groups.

A Republican Senate aide said GOP lawmakers are concerned that their views are “far from what we have seen in the regulatory arena.”

The Biden administration has struggled to find a controlling candidate who would be embraced by its Democratic allies on Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, the White House fired a former Obama-era Treasury official who had appeared for the position after protests from progressive Democrats. Several others were considered for the role but never nominated.

Former Fed employee Michael Hsu has served as acting controller since May.

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